Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti

Thousands homeless after this disaster
October 5, 2016 - New Zealand

Birds-eye view of the disaster
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Hurricane Matthew is the worst humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. While the destruction from the earthquake was primarily in the Port-au-Prince area, Matthew has caused damage to a vastly larger region. The Haitian government says more than 1.6 million people were affected by the storm, and 350,000 of those are in need of immediate assistance. The death toll is over 900 and expected to rise when cut-off communities become accessible.

Clean water is in short supply and hospitals are overcrowded. There is a huge risk of a cholera outbreak affecting many, especially vulnerable children. To donate please go to: www.nph.org/emergency

We are doing our best to reach those in need, both in the Port-au-Prince area, through our St Damien children's hospital, and in areas which are difficult to access by road.

We need to get food and hygiene kits to those in need.

Examples of needed items and prices:

Rice (25kg): $41

Beans (25kg): $46

Pasta (4kg): $7.40

Chlorine (60kg): $206

To donate please go to: www.nph.org/emergency

Father Enzo, assessing the damage, and bringing relief to cut-off communities:

Even as dawn came we could still barely see anything because of the fog. As we looked around, it looked like a scene after a war or horror movie with barren trees and fields covered in the fog. It was scary. The only sound we could barely hear was every once in a while a rooster singing in the distance.

It was amazing to see how they were trying to return to an ordinary live, recuperating the iron sheets blown away from their houses, straightening them out, and nailing them back on their roofs. A lady walking with a coconut shell holding some pieces of wood at the question, “How are you doing?” answered with such politeness and dignity, “I lost my house. I lost my husband. But I don’t have time to cry, because I have to go and cook for my child.”

Once we arrived in La Serengue, talking with the people I noticed that they were surviving until now by drinking coconut water. They have lost all of their livestock and have even been surviving on the meat and carcass of the dead animals. When I told them, “You have the sea, why don’t you fish?” they said, “We have lost our boats and our nets, we can’t even fish.”

And then a woman came willing to offer me something to eat, but she had nothing, so she offered me three rocks: one red, one black and one green that are usually used by the people there to make necklaces. There was such a solidarity and sharing among everyone, and with me.

The immediate relief need is certainly for food and water. The next steps also include giving them the means to raise livestock, to grow crops and to fish. If these things don’t happen, the next wave of this humanitarian disaster will certainly include displacement and a crisis of refugees.

To help provide life-saving aid to these communities: www.nph.org/emergency

Monica Gery   
Director of Communications

 

 

 

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